Counting the Cocoa Beans

  • The What: A company heavily invested in a new web-based system for the automated collection and reporting of its global accounting data
  • The Issue: Finance staff were unable to utilize data in multiple reports and analyses due to the lack of a unique interface
  • The Result: The company now has accounting reports that afford a wide-range of customized uses, thus providing company executives with more meaningful insight into overall performance and decision making.

 The issue/Challenge

One of the world’s largest producers and processors of agricultural, biofuel, and related products in the world had heavily invested in a state-of-the-art web-based application for the automated collection of global accounting data. This system is used to support Finance personnel in various part of this global organization, and the application accrues a massive record of transactions on a daily basis.

However, the application lacked the capability to provide adequate reporting and analytical tools that could satisfy wide-ranging user needs for multiple accounting methods. Client personnel were unable to easily access this data to satisfy the myriad reporting and anayltical requirements expected of a Fortune 50 company.

The Incite Informatics Solution

Incite Informatics was tasked with developing a business-oriented semantic layer that offered interactive, flexible access for the company’s business users to consume the raw data in a meaningful and actionable manner.

Incite Informatics engaged a team with a combination of expert business & technical savvy to (1) understand the nuances of the various accounting methods and (2) design and build a robust solution to satisfy the enterprise information needs. In working with the client team, Incite Informatics provided a series of recommended changes to underlying application components which would enable the downstream solution to function.

Incite Informatics then designed and implemented the solution with the ability to visualize the low-level data in as many as 30 different accounting reports — each with its own format and processing “rules.”


Incite Informatics’s solution has enabled client personnel to focus their time on analyzing financial transactions and improving its production and distribution performance within its global Cocoa division. Previously these users were entrenched in highly-manual data collation and manipulation exercises which prevented them from improving operations based on the empirical evidence visualized in the reporting tools.

The Particulars

Technology: SAP Business Objects XIR3, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Microsoft.NET
Team Strength: 3 (business analyst, technical architect, project manager)
Engagement Model: Hybrid remote and on-site
Initial duration: 5 Months
Team output: 30+ reports